Berkshire Hathaway Will Create ‘One of the Largest’ Suppliers

Berkshire Hathaway’s recent purchase of Bel Oro and Aurafin will create “one of the largest” jewelry suppliers in the U.S., Mark Hanna of Bel Oro told JCK.

“The combination of us two together probably makes us the largest volume supplier in the trade but I don’t like making absolute claims,” Hanna said.

As previously reported, the two companies will form a new company called Richline, headed by Dennis Ulrich, president of Bel-Oro. Dave Meleski, chief executive officer of Aurafin, will be its president.

Among the brands under this new umbrella: Bel Oro, Auarafin, Sardelli, Oro America, Pace Designs, Michael Anthony, Silver Bell, Gold Expressions, and Baby Gold.

“Each of the brands will be managed independently with separate products, with separate sales and service teams,” he said. “We will go to the market with seven or eight faces.”

But he said “we will examine the possibilities for co-operation.”

“One of the benefits here is a greater ability to invest in aggressive technology and product development,” he said.

He added there won’t be any particular benefits as far as Berkshire Hathaway’s other industry acquisitions: retailers Ben Bridge, Borsheim’s, and Helzberg Diamonds.

“They are just cousins,” he said. “They are totally arms-length. We will have to approach them to as we always have–with the right product at the right price.”

So far, it’s too early to say whether the brands will combine operations.

“For this year, it’s business as usual,” he said. “We need a good time to decide what’s the best model for us. We are just beginning this.”

Asked whether the companies plan future acquisitions, he said he did not know but “we do intend to grow substantially within the industry over the next three to five years.”